2018 is only two days old and the new material is coming down the internet pipe at a rate of knots, i’ve a feeling this is going to be a busy year.
A good way to start is the Boxing Day release from The Strays which is indeed called “Never Tweet Your Heroes”. I waxed lyrical about the bands debut here and i’m going to do the same for this sophomore effort.
It is important that you note that this is the electro-punk duo from North West UK and not the garage rock band from Gloucestershire, or indeed a trio from Darlington. What a confusing world we live in!
This moves on from “Explicit Content” in that it reduces the level of cussing thus making it far more possible to achieve airplay on mainstream radio and hopefully this will get the band more exposure. In addition there is the application of found sounds/film clips during and in between tracks (including a memorable Nicholson snippet from Cuckoo’s Nest). The duo move from their straight ahead electro punk on the first four tracks and, as with the last release, conclude with a funky little disco thing called “Milk and Honey” which I reckon is their best to date.
In any event five songs in 14 minutes demonstrates the Ramones like efficiency of the bands output and their joyful application of their craft which marries clever and often politically astute lyrics with crisp punk-electronica. They appear to be gigging rather extensively at the moment so check out their Facebook page for a chance to see them live.
Highly recommended for lovers of fine music.
Let me say from the outset that The Strays are going to have DJs rushing for the bleep button so if you don’t like blunt anglo-saxon language then you would need to avoid their debut short form release “Explicit Content” which manages to utilise the f, c and w words in the opening two tracks.
In the best traditions of northern lo-fi electro-punk bands like “A Witness” and “Bogshed” the duo deliver short, sharp, and unambiguous tirades against any number of deserving targets. This is drum machine driven electro punk delivered in a stripped backed punchy fashion with vocals that betray their northern location, also, The Strays manage (I believe) to be only the second known unit in musical history to use the word “mither” in the title of a tune (the first being The Fall of course).
The stand out track is the rather marvellous “Wind Your Neck In” which manages to use the -ing version of the f-word more times than Sicknurse managed to use in their classic tune “……my Best Friends Wife”. For the more nervous Ofcom spooked DJs out there you can showcase “TV Dinner” which has a rightly has a go at the paucity of talent on current broadcast channels as it only has one “f-ing” in it.
Refreshingly honest and reminding me somewhat of The Ramones in attitude if not style, the band throw a curve ball with the 70s disco vibe of the closer “Death In The Viper Room” which is the safest for radio but not wholly representative of the rest of the 18 minute 7 song collection.
This release cheered me up immensely in a week of submissions from sub-Blink 182 guitar dominated outfits (the modern equivalent of Four Skinny Indie Kids) peddling vacuous riffs under anodyne vocals. The Strays are well worth less than 20 minutes of your time and the price of a pint to give them some support and to encourage them to continue their attack on the sort of targets that need calling out.
Thanks to Neil Malcontent ex of The Ascension for bringing this excellent combo to my attention.